As construction on the new hotel nears completion, Culture Trip caught up with general manager Gigi Vega, who opened the first Nobu hotel five years ago – a boutique guest house within Caesar’s Palace, Las Vegas.
‘This hotel represents the evolution of Shoreditch,’ she says. ‘People used to say the area is up-and-coming, but its already here.’ It’s true that Nobu Hotel Shoreditch represents the pinnacle in a long period of gentrification in London’s East End. There’s already a list of iconic hotels that call Shoreditch home including The Hoxton, Ace Hotel, and The Curtain – New York hotelier Michael Achenbaum’s latest venture – is opening soon. There is no shortage of options for the discerning traveller and foodie in this part of town.
In such a competitive market, the hotel’s trump card is its restaurant. The cavernous space –boasting a rural Japanese aesthetic designed by Studio PCH – has a DJ booth overlooking diners and a four-tiered bamboo garden. A five-metre tall bar will stock a wide selection of new and old world wines, and will provide Asahi and Hitachino ales on tap. There are also ambitious plans to house Europe’s largest collection of Japanese whiskies.
The mouth-watering menu by celebrated chef Nobu Matsuhisa, overseen by executive chef Greg Seregi with support of head sushi chef Teruya Noriyoshi, features Peruvian-inspired Japanese cuisine which will also be available 24 hours a day through room service. Nobu Shoreditch will also be offering breakfast and weekend brunch to diners and guests – a world-first – and the menu will likely be announced when chef Nobu visits next month.
With little over a month to go until the soft launch – and the official opening on 1st July – the rooms and living spaces are finally taking shape. There is an unassuming luxury and earthiness throughout and the experience is truly transportive. East London interior designers Studio Mica were clearly inspired by Japanese architecture, using light and dark wood panelling throughout along with playful touches like the bento-box vanity cabinets and kimono-inspired robes inside every wardrobe. Natura Bissé toiletries are also provided, inspired by Chef Nobu’s favourite ingredients.
Perhaps the most striking thing about Nobu Shoreditch is the building itself. Designed by Ron Arad Architects and Ben Adams Architects, the hotel is a more literal interpretation of the East End’s industrial past, featuring overhanging floor slabs and exposed steel beams which are cantilevered, making the building look like it’s been shorn in half. ‘We’re here to be something different and not do what everyone else in Shoreditch is doing,’ says Vega.
According to Ben Adams Architects, the hotel’s four stories are ‘fractured into frayed, angular concrete balconies that accentuate the continuous nature of the building, with a façade that seems to never end, organically flowing into the green space of the garden.’
The hotel’s seven suites occupy each of these protrusions, with views overlooking the public space Nobu Shoreditch is creating in collaboration with Hackney Council. Ron Arad will create an artwork to surround a protected tree within the space, and Nobu Shoreditch plans to host cultural events and be a participatory partner when it comes to taking care of the local environment.
‘Being in London is a great opportunity. We’re in a race with Nobu Ibiza to open the company’s first european hotel,’ says Vega, who will manage the hotel’s 250 employees. ‘I consider Chef Nobu a great mentor and the mutual trust we share is what drives me to make this hotel great.’ Walking around the building site, it’s incredible to think that Nobu Shoreditch will start its soft launch in a couple of weeks, but it’s certainly shaping up to be a game changer in Shoreditch.